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Klaus Schulze

Progressive Electronic

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Klaus Schulze X album cover
4.07 | 283 ratings | 24 reviews | 45% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1 (58:29)
1. Friedrich Nietzsche (24:15)
2. Georg Trakl (2005 version) (5:25)
3. Frank Herbert (10:47)
4. Friedemann Bach (18:02)

Disc 2 (58:12)
5. Ludwig II. von Bayern (28:40)
6. Heinrich von Kleist (29:32)

Total Time: 116:41

Bonus track on 2005 reissue:
7. Objet d'Louis (Live *) (21:32)

* Live version of "Ludwig II. von Bayern" recorded in Belgium, September 1978

Line-up / Musicians

- Klaus Schulze / synthesizers (Big Moog, PPG, Minimoog, Arp Odyssey, Korg Polyphonic, Polymoog, Synthi A), Mellotron, PPG sequencer, percussion (4,6), effects (Revox Echo, Akg Bx 20 Hall, Dynacord speakers), arranger & producer

- Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester Frankfurt / string ensemble (5)
- Belgium orchestra / strings (7)
- Wolfgang Tiepold / cello (6), conductor (5,7)
- B. Dragic / violin solo (4)
- Harold Grasskopf / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Klaus D. Müller

2xLP Brain ‎- 0080.023 (1978, Germany)

2xCD Brain ‎- 833 627-2 (1990, Europe)
2xCD Revisited Rec. - REV 005 (2005, Germany) With a bonus track and non-edited track 2 (26:04) only available here

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KLAUS SCHULZE X ratings distribution

(283 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(45%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(35%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (2%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Philrod
5 stars Klaus Schulze more then surpasses himself on his tenth album(thats why it is called X by the way). Each song is inspired by a great German legend, but that is not the only thing that's great about this album. Schulze is absolutely astonishing with his electronic textures, which are joined by drummer Harold Grasskopf to give the album a more down to earth feeling. Every song takes a life in itself, and there are numerous bright moments, especially on the two higlights of the album, the opener Friedrich Nietzsche and the opener of the second album Ludwig II. von Bayern. The cello brings to the latter a new level, and surrounds Schulze's mood perfectly. But really Friedrich Nietzsche is the standout of the album, with a growing complexity that can't let you cold. The moog is specially well used on that one, the great tones adds to the textures into a perfectly constructed track. After you finish listening to this album, the images will stick into your head for a long time. Schulze's true masterpiece, X is flawless and now defines the career of this true pioneer of the electronic world.
Review by Zac M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is not only Klaus Schulze's masterpiece, but a masterpiece of Electronic Progressive music. I picked up this double CD set with the bonus track (newly remastered through InsideOut) about a month ago and was literally blown away. Schulze fuses his various synths and keyboards with the backing of a string orchestra (bridging the old with the new, if you will...). This combination works immaculately. I, myself, wonder if Schulze new that the final release would be as amazing as it turned out!

Each composition is named after a famous historical figure, and as others have already stated, it's almost like Schulze is trying to create a "musical portrait" for each of these figures. The standouts are "Ludwig II Von Bayern" and "Friedrich Nietzsche." I personally prefer disc two, as it has "Ludwig" on it, which is IMO one of, if not, Schulze's greatest compositions (that I've heard at least). Sure, this album is very difficult to get into and most definitely not for everyone, but I find it an extremely rewaring experience.

I don't think that this is the best place to start exploring Schulze's expansive discography, but is an essential listen for every fan of electronic music. A better strart would be Moondawn. Like I said before, this is one of the most rewarding listening experiences I've had. This album is definitely a masterpiece of Progressive Electronic music, a must for any fan of the genre!!! Five stars!

Review by philippe
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Co-pioneered and father of experimental electronic music, Klaus Schulze explores one more time the power of synthesisers and analog technologies in this diptych « X ». The representative meditative & dark keyboards parts animate the gorgeous electronic textures of "X". In addition to analog synths and electronic effects, the music contains string orchestra arrangements. As in "Irrlicht" it is sustained by "echoed" rather atmospheric sound treatments. The traditional musical element creates something deeper, exploring new realms. The dark "cosmic" symphony side of the project largely blows away the couple of boring "spacey" electronic pieces which open this musical adventure. "Friedrich Nietzsche » and « Georg Trakl » are two inconsistent electronic pieces with cheap melodies and binary, rolling acoustic drums. Just forget these two ones and go directly to "Friedemann Bach" and the second volume. "Friedmann Bach» is one of the most courageous recordings I've heard from Schulze. The tune opens with a plaintive strings, dark and grandiose theme, floating in space. The tension is progressively noticeable with the coming of a regular "haunted" and obsesssional synth pulse. The apocalyptic drumming parts enrich this macabre symphonic & elegiac dance. "Ludwig II" is slightly inferior than the previous composition because the neo-classical structure is too evident and suffers from a lack of variations. "Heinrich von Kleist » is an exquisite, ethereal composition with abundant source of beautiful synth textures and strings. A large scale work and a highly appreciated old vintage recording.
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Of all the Klaus Schulze albums I own, this one seems to be the most complete and the most concise of them. Sure the songs are still at herculean lengths and they have similar instrumentation as his previous efforts, but the addition of a drummer and a cello player really add some balance and some new dynamics to the mix. Of the seven tracks on the album spread out over two discs (this includes the bonus track put on the InsideOut reissue of the album), they all seem to have a consistent flow and a great sense of development, from sparse desolate atmospheric to tense and enigmatic synthesizer sections, a very wide range of emotions can be heard here. If you are to get one album by Schulze, X would be by far the best choice.

The first track is the 25 minute Friedrich Nietzsche. It begins with a choir that could easily be a mellotron, giving an epic and grandiose feeling. The drumming (by Harold Grasskopf) gives the piece a very down to earth feeling and helps keep the song on track even when it's at its most out there. Schulze in my opinion is benefited greatly from the addition of Grasskopf, because now his pieces feel more concise and to the point. The second track is the 26 minute Georg Trakl. It has a more atmopsheric feel than Friedrich, with some more expansive lead synthesizers and a nice underlying bass synthesizer beat. The drums are lush and they progressively become more and more involved in the song. It's an interesting track to say the least, but probably my least favorite on the album.Frank Herbert and Friedemann Bach are the two shortest pieces on the album, although they both still clock in at over 10 minutes. Herbert begins with a dissonant organ that becomes a droning and pulsating electronic beat with some underlying mellotron.

Bach begins with some underlying and bombastic percussion underneath some anxious synthesizer lines. Some interesting cello lines can also be heard in this track that spans a total of 17 minutes. Ludwig II von Bayern begins anxiously with some descending synthesizers and very haunting electronic noises and drones. Some superb orchestrations help create tension and a majestic atmosphere at the same time in this piece and in all, it's probably my favorite Schulze piece so far. Heinrich von Kleist is the last track of the official album, with Objet D'Louis being the bonus track. It begins with more anxious orchestral pieces and droning electronic noises, as well as a great underlying synthesizer progression. Throughout the 29 minutes of music, the piece evolves and regresses much like the shifting tide, reaching highs and lows but maintaining a constant flow. Objet D'Louis is the bonus track added on to the InsideOut reissue of the album. It's an even piece that reaches no real climax and yet doesn't fade off into obscurity. A good bonus, but it wasn't truly necessary.

In the end, X is the masterwork of Schulze, and may be one of the best electronic albums available. If you are in to minimalistic and atmospheric voyages of sound and emotion, than this album will definitely appeal to you. Although it's an ambitious and demanding listen, it's terribly rewarding in the end. 5/5.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars This is probably Klause Schulze's most ambitious recording.This his tenth studio album would be a double, and he would honour 5 men who he admired greatly by naming the songs after them. Because this was also a movie soundtrack ("Barracuda") he could afford to add an orchestra. He would also add a cello player and a drummer.The drummer was Harald Grosskopf from WALLENSTEIN who also played on his "Moondawn" album. The re-issue that i have is over 2 hours long, which for electronic music is way too long in my opinion. Especially when they added a bonus track which is simply an almost 22 minute live version of the first song on the second disc. They also extended "Georg Trakl" by over 20 minutes on the first disc. So in a perfect world I would be much happier with one disc with my favourite music on it. The other negative for me is the orchestral music which works at times, but for me it usually is more of a distraction. Lots of great music here though, and I did really enjoy the synths, drums and mellotron a lot. In fact for many people this is their favourite Schulze recording, so take what I say with a grain of salt. It's just my taste and opinion.

As much as "Friedrich Nietzsche" and "Frank Herbert" might sound similar they're two of my three favourite tracks on this double album.The mellotron, drumming and spacey synths are all so amazing. The moog seems more dominant on the latter song but they both are incredible."Georg Trakl" isn't bad but it's slower moving and seems to drag on for too long with the added 20 minutes. "Friedmann Bach" features lots of strings as drums come and go. An interesting track.

On disc two "Ludwig II Von Bayern" just has too much orchestration for my tastes.The bonus track is the live version of it but with a full orchestra, but I don't like it any better. "Heinrich Von Kleist" is my other top three song, and it's quite spacey and dark with orchestration until about half way through when the spacey sounds stop. It gets experimental then the spacey mood returns. Mellotron 18 minutes in. Drums come in after 23 minutes as the atmosphere seems to get more powerful as it plays out. I like it ! Tough for me to rate because I always rate excluding bonus tracks.That would make disc one 4 stars and disc two is probably 3 stars although "Heinrich Von Kleist" is so good.

I think 3 stars is fair.

Review by Kazuhiro
3 stars The recognition of the music of Germany of the 70's might have had music including the element of the electron , for example, the synthesizer also in Japan where I lived. Music that especially multiused electronics had feeling that Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream did [****] as a result being recognized those elements partially indispensable in the machine parts that the musician used.

The fashion like existing SF might spread from the flow in the 60's to the world to some degree and music to imagine space like them be established to music with Trip. It might be clear that it one was culture and feeling of cannot tasting the synthesizer with existing musical instruments till then. Schulze and TD advance to Britain and invent a lot of masterpieces in 1974. The flow of music with such a synthesizer might have become the index of directionality to techno and Ambient back.

It is known it has the flow of digital for the synthesizer in modern days well. And, he accomplishes the activity of apart from others though it is pushed to the wave of New Age in the 80's with TD. He has appeared it and "Expressionist" it might appeared in the work for music before the musician.

This album is an album that hits his tenth work. He is satisfactorily demonstrated the method concerning Music who has cultivated it before and the technique and might be summarized the appearing idea ..content.., too.. finished since this album. The photograph concerning the activity of the music that he did is published in the album.

Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars This tenth album from the man was a quite adventurous affair, but unlike some other distinguished reviewers, I don't feel like being confronted to a masterpiece while listening to "X".

It sounds as if his cosmic texture has been quite turned into a dramatic upbeat affair, and the pieces held in here are less spacey and melodic than usual. It is clear that I prefer the spatial beauty of "Timewind" than the elements found here.

Not that I don't like a song as "Nietzche" but it is globally quite difficult to approach (just like the work of this German writer). Maybe that's the relation with his work: intricate and little harmonious. The vigorous percussions are also adding a layer which was mostly absent so far and which I can't really endorse.

One of my preferred track is the short and ambient "Trackl". More in-line with the usual great work from Klaus. Sorry if I may sound as a conservative here but my feeling are the same about the upbeat and repetitive "Frank H" which is the one I can't really stand here.

Fortunately, the superb and neat "Bach" reverts me into best known territories and I can't say anything more than I far much prefer these inter-sidereal soundscapes. Relaxing, melodic, subliminal, beautiful even the final part is quite abstruse.

"Ludwig II" starts very promisingly (if would like to consider my remarks from above), but after the first classical passage, it gets in too many directions, and some sort of cacophony prevails for several minutes.

My preferred song from this album is the beautiful closing "Heinrich Von Kleist". The violin play adds some East-European flavour and an extreme beautiful sadness (yes, it is compatible). This track is a wonderful journey to some far away abyss.

It is as beautiful as his best pieces: fully aerial, mysterious, ambitious, ethereal and easily accessible. It really saves the bill IMHHO. The last and complaining ten minutes are just another gorgeous moment of electronic music.

Klaus used me to release long albums and that was never a problem in terms of quality. With this work, I don't feel as receptive as usual and I would have preferred a much, much shorter format.

My review is based on the original work, but when I read Ricochet's reviews about the bonus material available in a newer release of this album, it doesn't really encourage me to grab it. As such three stars. It is my least fave album from Klaus so far in his discography. The most hermetic for sure.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars X is widely recognized as the crowning achievement of Schulze's creative peak years. Following right after the incredible Mirage, we find Schulze rehashing known formulas and also exploring some new grounds beyond the usual boundaries of his style.

I admit adoring this album 20 years ago. However, I was in quite a Schulze mood in the first half of 2009 and imagine what, X came out as a bit of a disappointment. It has aged very well in terms of sound, but not so good in its over-indulgent ambitions. Nevertheless, it is monumental piece of work so I'll pay my respects with an equally long-winded review :)

Friedrich Nietzsche In form this is the closest you could come to define a quintessential 70's classic Schulze track, featuring entrancing sequences, wild moog solos and lots of percussion. It takes us back to the sound of Body Love but it's no improvement over similar tracks like PTO or Nowhere Now Here.

Georg Trakl Again the recognizable pattern of layers of interweaving sequences with a swirling finale. Somehow this one grabs me more then the opener. It's amazes me this track faded out after 5 minutes on the original vinyl. It's so much better here, restored to its full length. Nevertheless, I would have liked it even more if they had cut it at about 15 minutes. The last 10 are a bit dull and the tempo changes at the end don't work at all for me. (Yes we're a demanding audience)

Frank Herbert Kicks things in a slightly higher gear. Schulze never did anything so similar to something from Tangerine Dream in fact. Rather similar to TD's Madrigal Meredian from 1978's Cyclone but far below in execution: it is slightly predictable in its modulations and it doesn't have a good solo or interesting layers of sound to round it off. It fades out without grabbing much attention.

Friedeman Bach Similarly to Georg Trakl, Schulze goes for a slow and brooding sequence, creating a tension that never gets resolved. Especially so with the slightly dissonant violins and great percussion. It's very repetitious, but it works fine for me.

Ludwig II von Bayern Friedeman Bach introduced some violins in the mix. Here they are used for maximum dramatic effect. They are the lead instrument and move through a few repeated themes during this half hour long composition. The themes are somewhere in between Mozart's late symphonies and the romantic lyricism of 19th century Russian composers like Mussorgsky. It might also remind you of Philip Glass' track Pruit Igoe from Koyaaniskatsi. The track is absolutely stunning for the first 10 minutes. But then follows a very monotonous section with just one theme stretched over 10 minutes. I find that hard to sit through. The closing section repeats the opening 10 minutes but after the dreary middle part it overstays its welcome.

Heinrich von Kleist Continues the violin heavy sound, but the themes develop more organically. It's very minimal; the absence of sequences and recognizable melodies will demand some patience but the atmosphere created here is so out worldly and beautiful that you will need to take the effort to sit this one out.

Objet d'Louis A low-fi live rendition of Ludwig II. Unnecessary. Since I have heard the Historic Edition cd-set, I find it a bit disappointing that this piece got selected above "The Future" (HE cd4), a similar track in sound and atmosphere but much superior.

From a compositional point of view X is Schulze's most diverse album. But because of the variety and its extreme length, it's an acquired taste. You may like some tracks a lot and others not at all. If you want to get into the Schulze universe I would rather recommend the chilling Mirage, Body Love II, Timewind or his more recent album Kontinuum.

Review by colorofmoney91
5 stars X is one Schulze's epic masterwork, with a strong emphasis on epic. This album is obnoxiously long, and most people probably couldn't get through this album in one setting. Fortunately, this music is fantastic enough to make its full running time ignorable, for the most part.

I won't go much into detail about each track individually (c'mon, I just finished three final exams and a long research paper), but this whole album is an amalgamation of Klaus Schulze's best work and the best of the progressive electronic rock genre. If there is anything that you've ever liked about progressive electronic, it's here on this 2 disc set.

Electronic experimentation, sonic textures, dark ambient atmosphere, driving beats, accentuating percussion, soaring synths, spatial noises, chamber orchestra arrangements, hellish drones and exciting buzzscapes are all here. Do yourself a favor and purchase this album.

P.S. - Disc 2 is the best part.

Review by Warthur
4 stars A feast of Klaus Schulze compositions, each intended to reflect the personality of one of Klaus' inspirations. More diverse fare than the usual Schulze work - there's still epic electronic tracks in his signature style, but other tracks reintroduce percussion into his music to a greater extent than any of his solo albums, whilst others slip violin into the mix, and there's even a mostly orchestral piece. Still, the absolutely epic running time will try the patience of many, and I can't put hand on heart and say this is better than Mirage. Nonetheless, another very credible addition to the sprawling Schulze discography.
Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The last of Schulze's 'classic' albums (beginning with Timewind from 1975) this was his most ambitious album to date. It's his most symphonic and classically influenced album featuring string players. Here he picks up the orchestral experiments he left behind on his solo debut Irrlicht. But unlike that album the strings here are not altered to sound like anything but strings. Guest drummer Harald Grosskopf is back and he is put to good use on this album. Klaus himself plays some percussion. This was originally a double album but the track "Georg Trakl" was cut to just 5 minutes because of vinyl limitations. The latest CD reissue restores all 26 minutes of the song and includes a bonus live version of one of the other tracks under a different title. Like Moondawn this album was slightly re-mixed for CD, with some keyboard parts being added.

The tracks on X are named after people who Klaus was inspired and/or influenced by. "Friedrich Nietzsche" (pronounced 'neets-shuh' and not 'neechy') was a famous German philosopher. This opens the album in a traditional Schulze spacey kind of way. Around 4 1/2 minutes the drums appear. The drumming gets more looser and busy as the track evolves. Klaus' tom-toms are really loud compared to Harald's drumkit. Behind the drums and percussion we get ethereal and spacey soundscapes with the occasional quasi-solo on synth. Once in awhile you hear something that resembles a melody.

"Georg Trakl" was an Austrian Expressionist poet. This is based around a sequence of notes repeated throughout the entire piece. Echoed synth soloing at the beginning. Drums come in later and are very cymbal-oriented. Later on some hypnotic sequencer patterns appear. The drumming eventually turns into some kind of proto-techno beat before it becomes more subdued and settles into the background. Most of the keyboards fade away and everything turns to a minimalistic note. The drums and sequencers become more prominent at the end.

"Frank Herbert" is an American writer most famous for his book Dune (which is what KS will call his next album which also features the cello player from here). At just under 11 minutes this is the shortest track. Sounds like Klaus is trying to appeal to the New Wave crowd here with the steady drumbeat and punky sequencer rhythm. Some sort of soloing on the synths at times. A good consistent song but not a highlight. "Friedemann Bach" was the son of J.S. Bach. This is probably the weakest track but it's still interesting. The most avant-garde thing on X. Generally not a lot going on here; sort of a mood piece like the music on his first two albums.

It starts out symphonic with some sparse percussion. A sequencer pattern appears as the other instruments seem to be improvised. Some interesting violin work in this track. Later gets scary and dramatic sounding. "Ludwig II. von Bayern" was a Bavarian king. This is the most classical sounding piece and a highlight. Great mix of strings and keyboards here. Features some strong melodies, some of which sound familiar. During one of those melodies around 6 1/2 minutes is some truly gorgeous Mellotron choir. Love this part. Mainly just moody strings for awhile. This middle part goes on just a bit too long I think and could have been edited a bit.

Eventually it goes back to the strings playing melodies. After 21 minutes the drums finally show up playing a laid-back, mid-paced beat. Some spacey sounds from the synths towards the end. "Heinrich von Kleist" was a German poet. This starts out with symphonic synths. Soloing violin later. Gets rather ambient sounding before some sci-fi sounding synth noises lead to a more ethereal yet dramatic vibe. Later gets more spacey and avant- garde sounding. Eventually it becomes more symphonic and the drums decide to join in playing sparse and almost randomly. One of the weaker tracks.

This may be a good place to start with Klaus Schulze, especially if you are a Symph Prog lover. However, there is a lot of music here and chances are you will rarely listen to the whole thing in one setting more than once. Like the vast majority of double-albums I think this would have been better as a single album. If X consisted of nothing but "Nietzsche" and a slightly edited "Ludwig" this might get 5 stars from me. But as it is it's still a great album, some would say his last great album. 4 stars.

Review by Matti
4 stars Yes, this relatively much reviewed album is among the finest by Klaus Schulze. Originally released as a double vinyl, the CD edition consists of two full-length discs (both over 79 minutes), because one track ('Georg Trakl' 26:04) was originally only a fracture in length, and because there's a live version of another, nearly a half an hour track. While the latter is not that necessary, unless you enjoy comparing the two versions, the former is worth the massive playing time.

As I said in my previous Schulze review of Dune, "X" has a lot of intensity and sense of drama. Definitely the appearance of a drummer (Harald Grosskopf) helps this album to stand out positively from Schulze's vast discography. It's maybe closer to the Virgin-era TANGERINE DREAM than Schulze in general - so it's especially recommendable to those who know TD but not yet Schulze.

This time he has drawn inspiration from mostly literary figures. And as a lover of literature I'd like to deal a bit with those persons. First, 'Friedrich Nietzsche', the famous and also notorious philosopher with his ideas of Über-Mensch. The musical portrait is stunning, a highlight of not only Schulze's but of the whole Electronic Music genre. Spacey sounds accompanied with intense percussion and just the right amount of progressivity along the way.

Georg Trakl is a less known figure. I studied from a literature sourcebook that Trakl (1887- 1914) was an Austrian poet with a tragic and short life, and in his Expressionistic poetry he dealt with suffering and death. The dark tones of this sinister track reflect that life and the listener can visualize in music all details (s)he knows about it. Heinrich von Kleist (1777- 1811), a playwright and short story writer, made a double suicide with his ill female friend. The track features violin and - as Bonnek points out - demands in its minimalism a lot of concentration from the listener but is full of otherworldly beauty.

Ludwig II von Bayern was the duke of Bavaria in the 13th Century. This track (it's the one with the mildly shorter live version included too), featuring a string orchestra, is not among my favourites here. It flirts with classical music sometimes to a dramatical effect but it also has sections that make it a bit unbalanced as a whole. Also 'Friedemann Bach' (referring to one of J. S. Bach's sons?) got a dishonour of not being taken into my one-CD edition of "X".

'Frank Herbert' makes an exception in two things: it's the only "shorter" track - if a Schulze track is 10:47, you can use the word short! ;) - and the only figure not from a German- speaking country (and also the only one having lived after the World War Two). The next year Schulze would record Dune based on Herbert's famous SciFi novel. This track is not up to the level of album's highlights but a fairly good one and not too long at least.

Mostly "X" is in my opinion Schulze at his best, but I'm not sure if I can rate it with five stars if it's not entirely that good in its 2 x 79 min length. But it contains some excellent Electronic Music that very likely pleases the listeners of the genre and may win it new listeners too, if they only get over the feature that it's generally very repetitive and therefor a 25-minute track is completely another thing than a prog epic of the same length. The SOUND is the key word why I enjoy Electronic Music, and lately Klaus Schulze has become one of my key artists.

Review by stefro
5 stars The last truly great release from the German godfather of electronica - and arguably his best - 1978's double-sided 'X' album marked the culmination of a fabulous decade for the former Tangerine Dream drummer. With all ten albums leading up to 'X' (bar, perhaps, the avant-garde dronery of 'Blackdance') proving singularly brilliant in their own unique way, the 1970s was a truly fertile period for Schulze and it seems fitting that he would end this golden period with one of his most ambitious projects. Featuring almost two hours worth of material spread out over six lengthy tracks, and with each track based on a particular historical hero of the Teutonic synth wizard, 'X' is a truly magnificent labour-of-love featuring a vast array of analogue technology (synthesizers, mellotrons, sound effects, tape relays, banks of keyboards etc). The subjects for 'X' are drawn mainly from the worlds of classical Germanic music and literature, and include philosophiser Friedrich Nietzeche, Austrian poet Georg Trakl, classical composer Friedemann Bach, former Bavarian king Ludwig 2nd and German novelist Heinrich Von Kleist. The one exception to the otherwise Germanic cast is the addition of American author Frank Herbert - best known for writing of the epic sci-fi opus 'Dune' - and whose trademark novel would become the focus of Schulze's next album, 1979's 'Dune'. Schulze claims to have a stylistic theme running through each composition, yet with each individual piece stretching around the twenty-minute mark, 'X' simply becomes is a highly-complex and never-ending sprawl through the psychedelic possibilities of early electronica. Like contemporary electronic artists Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese, this is music very much for those listeners with the patience to enjoy it, with layers of highly atmospheric artificial sounds, industrial noises and throbbing, phaser-laced keyboard washed gently bubbling away underneath Schulze's slowly-unfurling synth-led rhythms and melodies. Like his very best work ('Timewind', 'X', 'Irrlicht') 'X' proves a thoroughly hypnotic and intensely mystical experience - more a continuous soundscape than a series of tunes - yet one that never loses its momentum. Describing 'X' in it's entirety is a difficult enough task; listening to it is an almighty quest into the unknown. Fans of Schulze will, of course, know exactly what to expect; new listeners are advised to take their time, as multiple listens reveal the true sonic beauty of Schulze's gloriously anti-commercial music. His last great work, 'X' is a true sensory experience and Klaus Schulze an artists quite unlike any other. Highly recommended. STEFAN TURNER, FRANCE, 2012
Review by admireArt
1 stars Pompous, long winded, overly sweet, overly bitter and ultimately Xtra pretentious, X embodies the decadent stardom Mr. Schulze went through (along a couple of dozens of Proggers ´n Rockers) after the frantic, creative and prolific 70s era or their own masterworks´ fame and fortune past.

The concept itself overshadows the actual results and the concept itself is not of universal appeal. Mr. Schulze displays both his best attributes and his worst pretentions. Halfway through his composer skills become predictable and over indulgent and his personal language falls short in inadequate environments.

But I suppose he actually went for all the marbles, more than he could actually handle. Whatever happened this double album sadly marked the downfall of a rapidly ascending masterful career which will take many, many years to set on track for good again.

The more I know it the more I´m bored with, overrated falls short !


Review by Modrigue
3 stars Schulze has 'classical' ambitions

Named after its chronological release order, "X" was certainly the most ambitious electronic record of its time. This massive double album (originally 2x60 minutes, 2x80 minutes for the 2005 Revisited Records Edition) attempts to marry the stretched Berlin School schulzian soundscapes with classical music. Subtitled "Sechs Musikalische Biographen", this tenth opus consists in six pieces, or biographies, each one evoking an artist or intellectual who inspired the German musician. Some tracks incorporate classical instruments, such as cello and violin, and even an entire orchestra, the "Orchester Des Hessischen Rundfunks".

It should be noted that Schulze already manipulated the recordings of a string orchestra in his 1972 debut "Irrlicht", resulting in eerie drone landscapes of desolation. However, this time, the symphonic parts are not modified. Musically speaking, the electronic parts borrow the extended static impressions of "Timewind" as well as more melodic and percussive elements in the vein of "Moondawn" and "Body Love". When we think about it, the symphonic genre is perfectly suited to Klaus' universe and compositional style. After all, he always had a great admiration for the classical composers ("Timewind" was a tribute to Richard Wagner). Therefore, this mixture of genres was an unavoidable exercise for him. With VANGELIS, Schulze was maybe THE 70's electronic artist for such an experiment.

Nevertheless, great ambitions does not necessarily make constant quality, especially during two hours of music. So, didn't Klaus Schulze went too far with "X"?

Disc 1 is still rather dominated by synthesizers. After its ambient contemplative opening, "Friedrich Nietzsche" mixes Harald Grosskopf's percussions, a superb chorus, electronic loops and trippy synthesizer soli to create a slowly evolving, immersive and melancholic soundscape. You travelled through the cosmos to land on a deserted extraterrestrial landscape. One of Schulze's greatest compositions from the seventies! The next two biographies are only ones not including classical music elements. "Georg Trakl" was an Austro-Hungarian poet. This cool piece is a short, calm and mysterious interlude, resembling a little TANGERINE DREAM's hazy style. Klaus was also a science fiction fan: Frank Herbert is the only personality of "X" not of German culture. The track starts with a dark and pulsating sequence in the vein of a TD soundtrack. The result is even more futuristic than Schulze's next album, "Dune". Nonetheless, there are hardly no changes at all during these 11 minutes. Wilhelm Friedemann Bach was a German composer from the family of Johann Sebastian. His musical biography differs slightly from the others of the first disc, as this is the first genuine track to marry classical and electronic music. The atmosphere is tragic, thrilling, reinforced by B. Dragic's frightening solo violin interventions and strange sound effects. An anguishing nightmare when you're in a maze dating back to the Renaissance, trying to escape from an invisible threat. The ending is quite chaotic and enigmatic. 4 stars.

Disc 2 incorporates more classical music elements, but is unfortunately less inspired. In collaboration with an orchestra conducted by Wolfgang Tiepold, "Ludwig II Von Bayern" is the composition where the marriage of Schulze's electronic soundscapes and the symphonic style is the most successful. Using a passage from Vivaldi's 11th concerto in D minor for two violins, cello and strings, it exposes the German artist's admiration for the great classical composers. Supported by a fast synthesizer loop, the first third is superb, elegant and epic. Magic! Nonetheless, this refined musical sculpture only lasts the first ten minutes. The second third is difficulty understandable. An uninteresting and repetitive orchestral passage, sounding as if the record was broken. Was Klaus' part forgotten in the final mix? The last section just recycles the theme from the first third. In fact, this track could have been shortened to its 10 first minutes. Named after a German writer, "Heinrich Von Kleist" features Wolfgang Tiepold at cello. This slow piece is mainly ambient, calm and melancholic, even experimental at times. The problem is that, except the contemplative chorus, nothing really happens during these 30 minutes, which finally become rather boring. 2 stars.

The 2005 Revisited Records Edition is not very essential. The bonus track, "Objet d'Louis", is a poor quality recording of a 1978 performance of "Ludwig II von Bayern", with an orchestra. The reissue also features the original 26 minutes version of "Georg Trakl", rather monotonous.

Ambitious, uneven, daring, however undoubtedly original, "X" is a colossus containing both gorgeous musical pieces and less interesting moments. A controversial release, some will love it immediately, others won't enter this beautiful and nightmarish world at first listen. I personally find this tenth offering a little overrated, but this fusion of electronic and classical elements had to be tried. If "X" had been a single album, consisting in the first disc with the first 10 minutes of "Ludwig II Von Bayern" replacing "Frank Herbert", then it would have been a masterpiece.

As you may understand, this double symphonic opus is not very accessible and definitely not the one to start with for newcomers. However, this ambitious effort remains essential for anyone wanting to explore Klaus Schulze and progressive electronic. After all, the marriage with classical music is not that common in this genre.

"X" unfortunately marks the end of Schulze's 'golden' era. After this one, the quality of his albums will become less regular...

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
5 stars When I began my explorations of the work and evolution of Klaus Schulze, I started with his most highly acclaimed albums and then when back to his origins--his work with Tangerine Dream, Ash Ra Tempel, and Cosmic Jokers. While I enjoyed these pieces, I never really felt that anything he had done was so very earth-shattering or timeless. Until I stumbled upon this album. Once Klaus had made the commitment to the incorporation of other instruments and other collaborators to his music I feel there is finally a breakthrough--a true expansion and fulfillment of the potential of his music. I feel a tremendous augmentation of the power of Klaus's music with the addition/incorporation of strings, cello, orchestra, violin, live percussion as well as Harald Grosskopf's drums--so much so that I would call "Ludwig II von Bayern," "Heinrich von Kleist" and "Objet d'Louis" three of the greatest Progressive Rock epics ever produced. That would lead us back to review the album's original two sides--of which one, "Georg Trakl" was relegated to a five-minute edit due to the physical limitations of sound reproduction on vinyl. (Too bad Klaus was German: his standards were too high. Had he known what Todd Rundgren had been squeezing into his vinyl albums, he might have reconsidered.) Anyway, I have the advantage of working from the latest 2018 CD release of the album, thus the inclusion of "Louis" and a full, 26-minute version of "Georg Trakl." The opener, "Friedrich Neitzsche" (24:53), benefits tremendously from the masterful use of Mellotron choir, Harald Grosskopf's drums as well as Klaus's great organ and synth play. (49/50) 2. "Georg Trakl" (26:04)--the full-length version--opens with two minutes of space blob music before it turns to more pop-familiar sounds and melodies (PINK FLOYD comes to mind). Harald's subtle cymbal play becomes more attention-grabbing in the sixth minute. A key shift at 8:38 provides a kind of "refresh" while Klaus's own percussive synth work becomes interesting. Multiple sequences layered over one another in the sixteenth minute offer another shift. But, alas! the song just doesn't do enough to warrant 26 minutes of the listener's dedication, even with a shift into minor key with six minutes left. (43/50) 3. "Frank Herbert" (10:51) a big "orchestra hit" opens this before a fast-paced TD-"Thief"-like sequence establishes the breakneck speed we're going to be subjected to for the next ten minutes. (I know: the movie "Thief" won't be coming out for another three years.) Everything on this song is hyped up and fast, even the incidentals that Klaus keeps throwing in from every direction. Other than tom-tom flourishes, I'm grateful for Harald's rather subdued role as simple time keeper (very Jaki L-like metronomic snare and kick drum play) (17.25/20) 4. "Friedemann Bach" (17:58) opens very sparsely with two slowly bouncing synth strings chords while Harald throws in some syncopated tom hits. In the second minute Klaus's synth work builds as the chords climb in pitch until a pause for some freaky "alien voices" at the two minute mark opens a new section--one with a break from any drums and with more "string" instruments introduced as solo items. Cool! In the fifth minute, everything we've heard so far begins to reenter and slowly congeal as Klaus's strings build to a fever pitch. Just before the five minute mark, a simple four-note sequence emerges into the mix, giving the song some kind of frail stability. The myriad incidental instruments and noises continue to make their sudden and random appearances until a wild flying violin begins to take a more permanent presence. I don't know who Friedmann Bach was, but the eeriness of this music makes me believe that he must have been the purveyor of some pretty frightening ideas or art. Things really peak in the 12th minute before there is an odd and unsettling break--a premature reprieve, it turns out, as more waves of chaotic continue to flash through the soundscape. Then the final two minutes give a kind of Fall of the House of Usher dénouement--as if everything comes crashing in. What a ride! Genius! and effective! (32/35) 5. "Ludwig II. von Bayern" (28:42) the perfect blend of electronica and real orchestra. Very evocative music. Though not about the other, more famous Ludwig von, there are passages that remind me of Beethovian music. (58/60) 6. "Heinrich von Kleist" (29:33) is a fine un-tempoed piece of orchestra, synthesizer and improvised percussion play--becoming much more of this latter during the middle section, but then returning to music with the organ and Mellotron choir entries in the eighteenth minute. It is dark and ominous throughout, thickening on the lower end for the full-spectrum sound of the final six minutes. (53/60) 7. "Objet d'Louis" (21:27) though unpolished--as evidenced by the scratchy sound on the recovered tapes--this eery song would make for a great soundtrack to a sci-fi time travel film. Very skilled classical music composition with some great themes and movements. No sign of Harald, drums, or even percussives anywhere! (36/40)

All in all, this is probably the finest album of Prog Electronic music (or "Krautrock") that I've ever heard--certainly head and shoulders above anything I've heard by any other artist from the 1970s. Without question, this deserves full marks.

Review by patrickq
5 stars X was Klaus Schulze's his tenth album, and second double LP. There are a number versions on CD; the first one I bought had only a 5:25 excerpt of "George Trakl." The standard, as far as I'm aware, is the Revisited Records "deluxe edition," released in 2005 as REV 005 and rereleased on the MIG label in 2016. It contains not only the full version of "Trakl," but a bonus track as well. This is the edition I'm reviewing here.

And I'll start this review by stating my opinion that X represents the absolute pinnacle of Schulze's music.

As I'll discuss in a bit, X varies substantially from Schulze's prior albums. But there's more variety within X than on most of Schulze's prior albums - - and only partly because it's a double album. More significant is the wider array of synthesizers used by Schulze and the inclusion of more guest performers than usual. After using prerecorded strings on his first two albums, Schulze only employed a drummer (Harald Großkopf) to accompany him on most of his next seven. On X, Großkopf plays on five of the six tracks, and fully half of the album features live strings, including an orchestral ensemble on "Ludwig II. von Bayern."

The second and third tracks, "Georg Trakl" and "Frank Herbert," are the only two that are somewhat similar to each other - - they have similar tempos, and these are the two pieces that rely the most on parts played by sequencers. "Friedrich Nietzsche," the opening track, also contains a fair amount of sequencing, but it's more integrated with the drumming as part of a rhythm section.

Had X consisted only of these three synthesizer-based tracks, it would be a very good, one-disk album that would have followed logically from its predecessor, Body Love Vol. 2 (1977). What makes X a great album, though, are the final three pieces.

"Friedemann Bach" features tom-toms (played by Schulze himself) and what I believe is multitracked violins (played by B. Dragic). "Bach" is at times mysterious, and at other times sinister. The closing track, "Heinrich von Kleist," is also the dénouement of the album's arc. Its opening chimes are echo those of "Ludwig," but it immediately descends into an enigmatic chords, resembling the aura of "Bach." But it's soon clear that "von Kleist" won't become either of these pieces. It feels considerably slower than most of the rest of the album; Großkopf doesn't appear until 23 minutes into this 29-minute track. Especially in its second half, "von Kleist" makes use, sometimes heavily, of the Mellotron, and a Cello is also featured.

Had X consisted only of the pieces I've already discussed - - tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6, it would be a five-star album. And yet that doesn't include the highlight of the album, "Ludwig II. von Bayern." A somewhat bizarre blend of synthesizers (including a Mellotron choir), drumkit, and string-section phrases stolen from Vivaldi (apparently Op. 3/11 RV 565), "Ludwig" is a phenomenon which I lack the vocabulary to adequately describe.

At least in song-based pop and rock music, most double album would be improved by being edited down into one-disk albums. That's not the case with X, on which Schulze takes whatever time he needs to develop each piece - - the tracks range in length from about 10 to 30 minutes, with an average duration of 23 minutes. These exceptionally long runtimes are necessary for different reasons depending on the track. As is typical for Schulze's music, much of X is based on nuanced repetition or drones. And in general, the pieces on this album require substantial time to evolve.

X was Schulze's tenth of thirteen albums released over an eight-year period on Brain, a subsidiary of Polygram (his first album was originally released on Ohr, but that seems to be another story). It was apparently successful from a commercial standpoint - - certainly, in 1978, Schulze was in the midst of a very successful period as a recording and touring artist. X probably wasn't a big risk, but it did represent a break with his recent works. For some reason - - maybe he realized that his 1976 and 1977 albums were beginning to sound more and more alike - - he created an album which made significant use of live strings and the Mellotron. And he made the change all the more stark by putting the novel pieces all together as (roughly) the second half of the album.

Interestingly, Schulze's experimentation accelerated after X: one side of Dune (1979) included cello, while the other, shockingly, contained solo vocals. And with Dig It (1980) he began an entirely new phase, switching to digital synthesis. So the brilliance of X was confined to one album.

No album is perfect, but X is a masterpiece. However successful it was commercially, it was phenomenally successful as art.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Hmmm, my first Klaus Schulze albums (actually i bought X at the same time as Mirage). First off I would like to state, this is not my taste at all. The songs are strung out with long ambient sections, with an almost techno beat accompanying. I am usually up for ambient music... but dedicating ... (read more)

Report this review (#164169) | Posted by OzzProg | Monday, March 17, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars My favorite Schulze album, along with Mirage. This is one looong album though, not easy to get through in one sitting. Or, as I often do with Klaus' albums, listening in bed before falling asleep. This is not to imply that his music will put you to sleep, although it works well for that and ... (read more)

Report this review (#161860) | Posted by infandous | Friday, February 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Whilst Tangerine Dream never ceases to amaze me as the manage to create outstanding textures and sonic landscapes while at the same time keeping their audience awake, I'm afraid Schulze just bores me to tears. Although I recognize how influential his work has been for Electronic Music as a whole a ... (read more)

Report this review (#146627) | Posted by electricsilence | Tuesday, October 23, 2007 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have never heard a better mix of strings and electronics than on Klaus Schulze's double disc "X". These compositions definitely stand out from what is on his previous albums. I'm not sure about why the progressive electronic music of the seventies always tend towards minimalism or "ambient" ... (read more)

Report this review (#60735) | Posted by 1971 | Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars [My review from a syth music site. I'm not sure what progressive rock fans will make of this. Genesis & Yes it ain't! There's no guitars whatsoever. No 'tunes' as such. There is: massed banks of all kinds ofsynth sounds, masses of mellotrons, drums & orchestral instruments in places. If you th ... (read more)

Report this review (#56262) | Posted by | Monday, November 14, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Personally this is one of favourits of Klaus as it combines very impressivily the rythmic pulse elements and flowing theme evolutions. It is more mature than the earlier works and the so called improvised content is better than in the later works. Personal highlights for me are Friedrich Nietz ... (read more)

Report this review (#56224) | Posted by | Sunday, November 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of the best albums by Shulze (perhaps THE best). The compositions have very minimalistic and rythmic song structures, and Schulze succeeds in building some great moods. The track "Ludwig II. von Bayern" alone would be worth the price of the album, with its combination of catchy mel ... (read more)

Report this review (#34995) | Posted by | Monday, May 23, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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